Can't Stand The Rezillos : The (Almost) Complete Rezillos.
CD Album. America. 1993. 9 26942-2
This album is a compilation of (most!) of The Rezillos music. If you've
never heard their music before, it's your standard punk drum, guitar and
vocal combo sound. Worth noting here is that Jo Callis wrote ALL of the tracks
on this album except tracks 3, 6, 8, 10, 18, 23, 24, 28.
The following text is taken from the inner CD sleeve :
By all accounts, Scotland's first great contribution
to rock'n'roll was Lonnie Donnegan, the banjo strumming superstar of skiffle
(the genial adaptation of American jug band music and blues that was all
the rage in the late 50's) who provided an influential role model for countless
young musicians, including the embryonic Beatles. After that, however, Scotland
settled back into the musical mulch, a condition only sporadically alleviated
by such notables as Lulu, Alex Harvey and the Bay City Rollers.
Then came punk. Coalescing a vast reservoir of youthful ennui, kitschy self-amusement,
manic energy and what-the-fuck enthusiasm, bands rose up everywhere - skeletons
awakening from a cultural dirt nap to find guitars, amps and drums awaiting.
By 1978, Scots were up to their Tartan Tams in homegrown talent like The
Skids, Zones, FingerPrintz, Jolt and Simple Minds. But somebody had to be
first, to switch on the power and get the era into gear. That somebody was
In the fall of 1975, Eugene Reynolds and Jo (John) Callis rounded up several
classmates from Edinburgh Art College and formed the Knutsford Dominators
to play covers of R&B and rock'n'roll standards at parties. Callis handled
guitars and vocals, while Reynolds was, at the outset, one of the two
drummers. That lineup didn't last, and neither did the group. After slimming
down to a quartet, the Dominators vanished in the spring.
But its core stuck together and soon recruited a new combo, which they dubbed
the Rezillos. Having ceded the drum throne to Angel Patterson, Reynolds had
become a singer, using the handle Luke Warm, Callis shared guitar duties
with Hi-Fi Harris. Vocalist Fay Fife (real name Sheilagh Hynde ; original
occupation fashion/design student) bassist D.K. Smythe, saxophonist William
Mysterious and backup singer Gail Warning completed the lineup, which contrary
to prevalent punk impatience - spent most of 1976 rehearsing before making
its live debut on November 5th, a fortnight prior to 'Anarchy In The UK'.
The Rezillos mixed an amused appreciation for all things B-movie wonderful
and junky (songs like 'Leader Of The Pack', the Sweet's glam rocking 'Ballroom
Blitz' and the Dave Clarke 5's venerable ' Glad All Over' were in their repertoire)
with a dose of comic book sc-fi imagination and a pop art fashion sense straight
out of a bad trip on Carnaby Steet. In other words, they looked as great
as they sounded - even if they were rank amateurs. As Fife later remarked
'We were never serious about being musicians' It didn't matter a fig. Like
other great zealots of trash( the B-52's and The Cramps, f'rinstance), The
Rezillos, possesed the deeply inbred spirit of rock'n'roll and a very modern
sense of fun-über-alles that was worth inestimably more than a thousand
hours of practice.
These missionaries of new wave faith began spreading the gospel around Scotland,
playing 200 (!) gigs over the following year. By the summer of '77 vinyl
finally beckoned through the agency of one Lenny Love, a local Island Records
employee with indie label ambitions of his own. The Rezillos inaugurated
Love's fledgling Sensible Records in August with what appears to have been
(beating the Valves by a month) Scotlands first new wave single (FAB 1):
'I Can't Stand My Baby' (written, as were nearly all the bands originals,
by Callis) b/w an uptempo version of the Beatles already uptempo
'I Wanna Be Your Man'.
In September the Rezillos supported the Stanglers at the Glasgow Apollo
before a crowd (their largest to date) of 3,500. The group had already attracted
some A&R interest from various companies, but their performance that
night evidently convinced Sire to make it's move. The Rezillos became the
first U.K. band directly signed to the punk friendly American label.
Between that deal and ushering in the new year, the Rezillos became a five
piece (Harris, Smythe and Warning left; William Mysterious took over on bass),
released a Sire single - '(My Baby Does) Good Scultpures' b/w 'Flying Sacucer
Attack' - that had been intended as thier second Sensible 45, and did a short
(and reportedly unhappy) U.K. tour with the Ramones. Following the holidays,
the Rezillos packed off to New York to record their debut album.
Nick Lowe and Chris Spedding had been approached about producing the disc,
but New York's Tony Bongiovi - whose work with the Ramones and Talking Heads
made him a culture hero long before his cousin Jon - got the assignment.
While illness forced him to tagteam production with engineer Bob Clearmountain,
the quintet spent February working at Power Station, emerging only to play
a show at CBGB.
Can't Stand The Rezillos (the release of which was delayed for months by
business affairs) combines the band's fine madness with such righteous covers
as 'Gladd All Over', Freddie and the Dreamers' magically drippy 'I Like It'
and 'Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight', a 1959 B-side by
Earl Vince and the Valiants (aka Fleetwood Mac).Despite Paterson's peppy
drumming and Callis' rough guitar attack, however, the album is a bit outside
punk, a loose interpretation of the 60's more than a refutation of the 70's.
Mysterious had vanished after the March '78 tour in what Reynolds would
only describe as a flying saucer attacks, and Simon Templar (not the Saint,
just a bloke with the same stage name) had become the Rezillo's new bassist.
Backed by a track '20,000 Rezillos Under The Sea', the new lineup debuted
with a 45 remake of the album's 'Top Of The Pops' (not the Kink's song, just
a tune with the same name) that arrived in the U.K. shops in July, the same
month as Can't Stand The Rezillos.
The group did a tour headlining over the Undertones and released a wonderful
single ('Destination Venus' b/w 'Mystery Action') in November, but there
was trouble on Rezilloville. Diverging musical interests set Fife and Reynolds
at odds with the other three, and the group decided to call it a career.
But first there had to be a farewell gig. On December 23, 1978, the Rezillos
returned to Glasgow Apollo, joined for the event by Gail Warning and William
Mysterious (back on sax). The full tilt rave included such previously uncut
covers as 'Ballroom Blitz', 'Land Of A Thousand Dances', and the Kinks' 'I
Need You' alongside a complement of Rezillos classics, all of which was documented
on a live album entitled Mission Accomplished...But The Beat Goes On
. And that, as they say, was that.
Fife and Reynolds went on to form the not-altogether-different-sounding
Revillos with old chum Hi-Fi Harris and a trio of backup singers called the
Revettes. After two albums, the Revillos disbanded in 1985. Reynolds tinkered
with antique motorcylces and later formed a band Planet Pop; Fife worked
in film production, wrote screenplays, acted on stage and took a post-graduate
After the Rezillos ended Callis kept right on rocking. Along with Paterson
and Templar, he formed Shake and released a 10-inch EP and one 45 on Sire
in the U.K.; in early 1981 he joined Human League ( a group with whom the
Rezillos had once shared management) and co-wrote such worldwide hits as
'Don't You Want Me''.
Following Shake, Templar played in the Flowers and then released Boots For
Dancing, and obscure outfit in which Paterson and Callis had briefly figured.
Paterson formed TV21, who made a poppy album (A Thin Red Line) in 1981, and
later reunited with Callis to form S.W.A.L.K., a glitter rock quintet that
lasted for one 1985 EP.
While other groups - from Simple Minds to Big Country to The Jesus and Mary
Chain to Teenage Fanclub - have gone on to greater and more enduring international
fame, the Rezillos remained a proud chapter in the annals of Scottich rock'n'roll
history. Their records, which reek of the joyous anything-goes atmosphere,
in which they were created, are just as entertaining now as then, and doubtedly
twisted some impressionable minds along the way. Mission accomplished. Over
New York City
Track Listing : CAN'T STAND THE REZILLOS : THE (ALMOST)
1. FLYING SAUCER ATTACK
3. SOMEBODY'S GONNA GET THEIR HEAD KICKED IN TONIGHT
4. TOP OF THE POPS
5. 2000 A.D.
6. IT GETS ME
7. I CANT STAND MY BABY
8. GLAD ALL OVER
9. (MY BABY DOES) GOOD SCULPTURES
10. I LIKE IT
11. GETTING ME DOWN
12. COLD WARS
13. BAD GUY REACTION
14. DESTINATION VENUS
15. MYSTERY ACTION
16. TOP OF THE POPS
17. MYSTERY ACTION
18. SOMEBODY'S GONNA GET THIR HEAD KICKED IN TONIGHT
19. THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO
20. COLD WARS
23. LAND OF A THOUSAND DANCES
24. I NEED YOU
25. CULTURE SHOCK
26. GETTING ME DOWN
27. BALLROOM BLITZ
28. (MY BABY DOES) GOOD SCULPTURES